Which is Worse: Prostate Cancer or Increased Risk Of Alzheimer’s or Stroke Due to Common Treatment?

Which is Worse: Prostate Cancer or Increased Risk Of Alzheimer’s or Stroke Due to Common Treatment?

For men, prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer behind skin cancer. Fortunately for men, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable and survivable cancers a man could develop. Consider the fact that there are nearly 3 million men that have been diagnosed with prostate cancer that are still living today.

How common is it? The next time you are in a room or place with 100 men, look around and realize that on average, 11 of them will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. The number increases if the men are black Americans. Sixty percent of prostate cancer diagnoses are in men 60 and over with the average age at the time of diagnosis being 66.

The treatment depends on the stage of the prostate cancer, age and health of the patient, what insurance covers and then which option a man and his doctor will choose to pursue.

One form of treatment that has been growing in popularity is known as hormone-blocking therapy or treatment. Since testosterone has been found to feed prostate cancer, hormone-blocking therapy is used to reduce the production of testosterone.

There are 4 basic types of hormone-blocking therapy and they are:

Orchiectomy: About 90% of testosterone is produced by the testicles. So orchiectomy—the surgical removal of the testicles—is an effective way to drastically reduce testosterone release… 

LHRH Agonist: LHRH, or luteinizing-hormone releasing hormone, is a hormone released by the body that initiates the production of testosterone (GnRH, or gonadotropin-releasing hormone). Blocking the release of LHRH through the use of agonists (substances that initiate a response) is one of the most common hormone therapies used in men with prostate cancer. Drugs in this class, including leuprolide (Eligard®, Lupron Depot®, and Viadur®), goserelin (Zoladex®), and triptorelin (Trelstar®), are given as regular shots: once a month, once every 3, 4, or 6 months, or once per year, depending on the drug and prescribed dosage…

LHRH Antagonists: These are a newer class of medications that can block LHRH (GnRH) from stimulating testosterone production without causing an initial testosterone surge. This class includes degarelix (Firmagon®), which is taken once per month as an alternative to orchiectomy or LHRH agonists.

Anti-Androgens: Anti-androgens such as bicalutamide (Casodex®), flutamide (Eulexin®), and nilutamide (Nilandron®) can help block the action of testosterone in prostate cancer cells. They are often added to some hormone injections to prevent a temporary rise in testosterone.

Since Orchiectomy is such a permanent solution, most men do not select this treatment, but instead opt for one of the other 3.

While prostate cancer has a such a high survivability rate, a recent study reveals that there are additional side effects that come with opting for a hormone-blocking treatment:

Alzheimer’s disease may be a risk for older prostate cancer patients given hormone-blocking treatment, a large, U.S. government-funded analysis found.

Previous evidence has been mixed on whether the treatment might be linked with mental decline. But experts say the new results stand out because they’re from a respected national cancer database and the men were tracked for a long time—eight years on average.

Among 154,000 older patients, 13% who received hormone-blocking treatment developed Alzheimer’s, compared with 9% who had other treatment or chose no therapy, the study found.

The risk for dementia from strokes or other causes was higher: It was diagnosed in 22% of those who got hormone-blocking treatment, versus 16% of the other patients.

Guys, if you are one of the many who will hear the words ‘prostate cancer’ from your doctor, you need to consider the increased risks of dementia and stroke when looking at undergoing a hormone-blocking therapy treatment.


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